Category Archives: Websites – Shopping Cart

Get The Freight Right

Use Technology To Calculate Freight Rates With Quotes And Orders

Kaity Morris and members of her customer service team are certainly sympathetic when customers express frustration about having to calculate freight quotes when ordering promotional products. They’re mostly quite pleased the frustration is not directed at them.

Morris is Customer Service Manager at HandStands, a Salt Lake City-based supplier focusing on air fresheners and technology accessories. When HandStands quotes a price for an order, shipping costs are included up front. No waiting. No guessing. No problems.

“It’s an extra plus in our customer service,” Morris said of having a real-time freight quote tool included in pricing calculations. “Our customers know shipping costs right up front.”

Obviously the technology to calculate freight costs when placing an over-the-phone or an online order is nothing out of the ordinary. Imagine the hesitation if consumers placed online orders at everyday retail websites with the expectation that yet-to-be-determined shipping costs would be added to the posted cost.

“Who’s going to buy something online if they don’t have the freight? As a consumer, can you imagine going to Amazon and then waiting two days for them to send you the shipping costs?”

That’s Jason Nokes, President of DistributorCentral and one of the team members who developed a freight calculation tool for the promotional products industry. It’s been just over a decade since DC made this function available, yet Nokes knows there’s some reluctance on the part of both suppliers and distributors to have shipping costs included in quotes and pricing, usually because of concerns about accuracy.

According to Nokes, the ability to nail down shipping costs is actually simple and easy. Accurate freight rates can be calculated in advance using real-time data from shipping providers and incorporating internal product and packing standards. The more data and variables plugged into the equation, the more precise the quote.

“Now suppliers are able to present shipping processes and pricing in a manner that’s accurate and positive,” said Nokes. “Helping customers determine how shipping will impact pricing becomes an appreciated aspect of the sales process.”

Feel the love
Tom Mertz, President and CEO of TradeNet Publishing, manufacturer of printed promotional products near Kansas City, offers no pretense about his reasoning for incorporating DC’s Freight Quote function in every quote and order.

“We want the distributor to love TradeNet,” said Mertz. “We realize our customers are busy people and are often working on a quote at night or on the road. If they can tell their customer what the freight will be, we’re making it easier for them to make the sale.”

Mertz said distributors have acknowledged they want to know freight costs up front. “A distributor will take the path of least resistance,” he said. “If they can get an accurate quote from one supplier and not from another, which supplier gets the business? It positions TradeNet as being in partnership with distributors by helping them make the sale.”

Economics is no small part of the equation where TradeNet is concerned. Mertz said a review of customer service calls prior to implementation to Freight Quotes was that 25 percent of incoming calls were related to inquiries and issues associated with shipping costs. Now those calls are rare.

“TradeNet was ultimately able to direct our Customer Service team to spend more quality time with distributors,” Mertz said. “We were able to better concentrate the efforts of our CS team to make it easier to make the sale and to do more business with us.”

Distributors sing a similar song. Rich Graham, Chief Imagination Officer at Dallas-based Big Promotions!, said having accurate shipping quotes at the time of sale is something “you just gotta have and that’s pretty much how it is.” Graham said Big Promotions! relies on the DC freight calculator, indicating it’s especially required for customers who make online purchases during the nighttime hours or on weekends.

Dave White, DEW Ad Specialties, Kansas City, said it’s important to have access to a freight calculator function because of ever-changing costs. “It’s hard to keep up with fuel surcharges that seemingly change on a daily basis,” said White. “It helps us to know we’re being provided accurate shipping pricing without any surprises.”

Simplified and Customized
While online Freight Quote programming is robust and detailed, the ability for a supplier or a distributor to add it to online or over-the-phone price quoting is not. Where DC’s tool is concerned, it’s a matter of the supplier or distributor completing a spreadsheet with as many shipping standards as possible, including product dimensions and weight per shipping quantity. The more detailed the standards and the shipping criteria, the more accurate the quote.

“We hear stories about suppliers using whatever boxes they can find to ship products in,” said DC’s Nokes. “The process of including shipping costs in quotes typically results in improvements of processes and functionality.”

Nokes said the DC software interacts with FedEx and UPS to generate real-time rates. The integration with the two primary shippers factors in the fluctuating fuel surcharges and thus keeps pace with changing rates.

TradeNet’s Mertz said the accuracy of freight quotes through DistributorCentral has exceeded his expectations. Over years of implementation and across thousands of orders representing hundreds of product lines, the quotes are directly aligned with actual costs.

“At the end of the day, we’re looking for a quote that’s fair in the aggregate to TradeNet and the distributor,” Mertz said.

Fully customizable, the Freight Quote tool allows suppliers and distributors to provide customers with shipping discounts or free shipping on selected products or special offers. The DC freight tool is automatically integrated with DC-hosted websites and can also be integrated into custom third-party websites.

“With this freight tool, suppliers are actually helping the distributor sell on line and give more precise quotes,” said Nokes. “Distributors, through their suppliers or on their own websites, benefit by making easier for the end user.”

How to remove pricing from your website.

The DistributorCentral product catalog does include the standard retail pricing offered by each Supplier for products. Each Supplier does have the responsibility to update and maintain that pricing data. DistributorCentral also asks each Supplier to honor the pricing. There are some Distributors that still prefer not to offer the price at all on their website. This can be turned off using “Website Preferences”. You should note that if you turn off your pricing, you are also turning off the ordering process or shopping cart for your site.

This is a preference that is set in your “Website Preferences” area.

1. Go to Websites MenuAdd/Edit Websites.

2. Under “Websites List“, find your website and click on “Preferences” to the right.

3. First click on “Searching” and find the preference called “Display price range in search results?”. Set it to “Never” and Save on the top right.

4. Then go to “Orders” in the menu on the left and find the preference titled “Display order button on your website?” and set that to “No“. Then Save on the top right.

5. Now click on “Catalog” in the menu on the left and find the preference titled “Display pricing on individual catalog pages?” and set that to “Never”

6. Scroll down to one final preference in the same section (the Catalog section) titled “Show Options Tab?” and set that to “No” then Save at the top right of the page.

5. Now click on “Published” link at top center and then click on “Publish New Changes”.

This will remove pricing and remove the ordering option from your website in DC. Customers will be able to view the products and research but they will not know the cost.

How to Turn Off the Shopping Cart on a Website

 The e-commerce capability that DC offers is a great option but some people would rather not offer it to their customers. You do have the option to turn off the shopping cart on a website in DC.

The “Order Now” verbage can also be changed if you would rather the button say something more general. Some Distributors choose to say “Get Quote Now” or “Request Quote” (or any other text you would prefer to “Order Now”). Learn how in the second set of instructions below.

If you would prefer to completely turn off your shopping cart, see these instructions:

This is a preference that is set in your “Website Preferences” area.

1. Go to Websites Menu> Add/Edit Websites

2. Under “Websites List“, find your website and click on “Preferences” to the right.

3. Now click on “Orders” section on the left. You will see a question: “Display Order Button on your Website?”

4. Set the question above to “No” and Save at the top right

5. Now click on “Published” link at top center and then click on “Publish New Changes

Now your customers will be able to research and find products but they will not be able to send an order from your DC website.

If you would prefer to change your Order button verbage, see these instructions:

This is also a preference that is set in your “Website Preferences” area.

1. Go to Websites Menu> Add/Edit Websites

2. Under “Websites List“, find your website and click on “Preferences” to the right.

3. Now click on “Orders” section on the left. You will see a question: “What text should appear on your order button?”

4. Change the text in that box to match the text you would like the customer to see for the order button and Save at the top right.

5. Now click on “Published” link at top center and then click on “Publish New Changes

Once your site has been published, you should see your order button change for your website to the verbage you added to your website preference area.


PayPal Payment Methods for your Websites’s Shopping Cart

You have three options in DistributorCentral with integrating PayPal to collect payments from your customers.

PayPal – Collect Info Only
PayPal – Real-Time Merchant Processing
Credit Card – PayPal Payflow Pro Merchant Account Processing

You should only select to use one of the PayPal payment methods for your website’s shopping cart.


PayPal – Collect Info Only
This option would allow your customers during the ordering process on your website, to indicate to pay you using PayPal. If your customer chooses this option, it’s setup so that you can invoice your customer using PayPal, or you can create an invoice within your DistributorCentral account and the customer can click on the “Pay online now” link in the invoice, where they can then pay you through PayPal.

Click here for specific instructions on how to integrate the PayPal – Collect Info Only method with your DistributorCentral account.


PayPal – Real-Time Merchant Processing
If you want to give the customer the ability to Pay through PayPal during the order process, then the PayPal – Real-Time Merchant Processing would prompt the customer to pay during the ordering process, so you’d receive the funds in your PayPal account once you get the order, as opposed to having to invoice the customer after you receive the order. You need to have the Billing contact email address in your DistributorCentral account set as the same email address you have setup for your PayPal account.
To do this:
– Go to the Account menu and select Account Maintenance
– Click on the Contacts tab
– Next, if you don’t have a Billing contact setup, click on Add Similar or on the Add New Contact button and setup a Billing contact making sure to use the same email address that you have setup with your PayPal account.

The main difference here, is that PayPal – Collect Info Only, allows you to verify the order and make sure everything checks out on your end, where you can make modifications to the order prior to officially invoicing the customer and colleting payment. PayPal – Real-Time Merchant Processing, would collect the payment from the customer at the time that they place the order. If you needed to make adjustment to the order (such as artwork, shipping charge, tax, etc.), you’d have to make the adjustments and send your customer an invoice for the outstanding balance.

So the premise is if you want to verify the order before actually charging the customer, you’d want to do PayPal – Collect Info Only. if you have set products on a site that you feel would not need to be adjusted once you receive an order, then PayPal – Real-Time Merchant Processing might be a good fit.

Click here for more information on integrating the PayPal – Real-Time Merchant Processing payment method.


Credit Card – PayPal Payflow Pro Merchant Account Processing
This is considered a Payment Gateway that works as an extension to your merchant account, similar to Authorize.Net. If you choose this payment type, you’d be prompted to setup your Payflow credentials in your DistributorCentral account. The shopping cart on your website will default to automatically pre-authorize the customer’s credit card during the ordering process to make sure that the payment is available for the amount of the order. Then you will be able to verify the order and settle the payment from inside your DistributorCentral account, where the payment would also show a record of the settled payment within your Payflow account.

Click here to review other payment methods that you can use for the shopping cart on your DistributorCentral website.

Change in the End User Shopping Cart Process

There has been a slight change in the order process for end users on Distributor websites.

Before this change the customer was asked for their payment before they had the opportunity to see the summary of their order. After some research here at DC, we see a benefit to changing that process for better results and more completed orders.

Now, the payment request is on the same page as the order review and the customer can see their items before they enter their payment.

How to Provide Discounts for the Shopping Cart on your Website

DistributorCentral makes it easier than ever for you to apply discounts for your customers through the shopping cart on your website.

You can use our discount feature to setup and offer discounts in a variety of ways, here are just a few:
– Offer percentage discounts if the product or order total is more than a set amount
– Offer flat rate discounts if the product or order total is more than a set amount
– Offer discounts on freight by percentage or a flat rate
– Offer a coupon code that can be entered to receive a percentage or flat rate discount

This feature is incredibly easy to use, just watch the short video below to learn all about this feature and how to apply it to your website.


Offer Discounts and Promotions on Your Website’s Shopping Cart!

Due to the high volume of requests, DistributorCentral now has the ability to offer discounts and promo codes to the DC shopping cart.

There are many different methods of discounts available as well:

  • Offer a percentage discount if your customer order totals more than a given amount
  • Offer a fixed discount if your customer order totals more than a given amount
  • Offer a discount on freight costs by percentage or a flat rate
  • Offer a promo code type of discount by percentage or flat rate and other ways as well 

To utilize this new feature:

1. Log into your DC account at

2. Then Go to Accounts Menu> Discounts

3. Now click on “Add New Discount

4. Fill in the Discount Name (this will show on the order) and fill in the other fields including a start and end date and hit “Save

Note: you can have the discount available on all of your DC websites or only on one of them as well. This is available when you are creating your discount but can be changed at any time.

5. Now that you have created your Discount, you will set up your discount rules

6. First, click on “Add New Trigger” on the top right

a. Enter your trigger. A trigger is what will cause the discount to happen or the “trigger” of your discount. This can be based on a variable which could be a coupon code, the freight total, the grand total, or the product total.

b. Then you will enter your “Operator” and your “Trigger Value“. Trigger Value is the $ amount that “triggers” the discount or the Coupon code that must be entered.

c. Save that Trigger at the bottom

7. Now, click on “Add New Effect” in the lower right hand side of the discount page

a. Enter the “Variable.” This could be the freight total, grand total, or product total. This variable is what is effected by the trigger that you set earlier.

b. Now you will enter the “Effect” and the “Effect Value“. The Effect is what happens when the discount is triggered. This could be a percentage, flat rate, set value, or flat discount. The Effect Value is the $ amount or the percentage of discount that is given when triggered.

c. Save that Effect at the bottom

You can add multiple triggers and multiple effects if needed to each discount you enter.

This discount will be available for your customers on your website during the date range that you specified when you created the discount. It will show as a line item on the purchase order above the order total as well.

Discount example:

In this example, a Distributor is offering a coupon code percentage discount to any customer who saw his ad in the local paper.

This is how it is set up in DC:

Trigger Variable – Coupon Code

Trigger Operator – Equal to

Trigger Value – News (the code to be entered by the customer)


Effect Variable – Grand Total

Effect – Percentage Discount

Effect Value – 15 (for 15%)

This is how it looks to the Customer during the order:

When you set up the discount as a promo code, the customer will see this on the same page that they select their payment method on at the end of the order.

If it is just a discount based on an order total, the customer will not see anything regarding the discount until the end of the order.

The Discount code will display for the Distributor in the Order Summary:

We hope that this new feature will help you with your advertising and marketing campaigns!

-DC Team

New Website Feature! View Shopping Cart page:

Attention Website users!

There is now a new page available to add to your website. You can add the “View Cart” page to allow your customers to leave the shopping cart and go back to it later during their visit to your website.

This can be easily added to your website:

1. Go to Websites Menu> Add/Edit Websites

2. Edit your website

3. Click on Add/Edit Web Pages

4. Scroll down to the section titled “Pages You May Add to Your Website

5.Select “Add This Page” to the right of the “View Cart” page name

6. Now you can change the name from “View Cart” by entering in another name in the fields “Display name” and “Page Name

7. Once this is completed, select “Save

8. Now you can sort your page in the Navigation bar by selecting “Sort Pages” to the right of the “Add/Edit Pages” section at the top.

9. Go to Website Publisher> Publish New Changes.

Note: This page will now display on your navigation bar once you Publish your Website

Now your customers can add products here or go back to an order to complete it (during the same visit).

This is what your customers will see when they click on “View Cart” if they have products in the shopping cart:

Below is what they see if they don’t have any products yet added: